he remainder of Anne’s time at Uppercross, comprehending
only two days, was spent entirely at the mansionhouse, and she had the satisfaction of knowing herself extremely
useful there, both as an immediate companion, and as assisting in all those arrangements for the future, which,
in Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove’s distressed state of spirits, would have been difficulties.
They had an early account from Lyme the next morning. Louisa was much the same. No symptoms worse than before had appeared. Charles came a few hours afterwards, to
bring a later and more particular account. He was tolerably cheerful. A speedy cure must not be hoped, but everything was going on as well as the nature of the case admitted. In speaking of the Harvilles, he seemed unable to satisfy his own sense of their kindness, especially of Mrs. Harville’s
exertions as a nurse. “She really left nothing for Mary to do. He and Mary had been persuaded to go early to their
inn last night. Mary had been hysterical again this morning. When he came away, she was going to walk out with Captain Benwick, which, he hoped, would do her good. He almost wished she had been prevailed on to come home the day before; but the truth was, that Mrs. Harville left nothing
for anybody to do.”
Charles was to return to Lyme the same afternoon, and his father had at first half a mind to go with him, but the
ladies could not consent. It would be going only to multiply trouble to the others, and increase his own distress; and a
much better scheme followed and was acted upon. A chaise was sent for from Crewkherne, and Charles conveyed back a far more useful person in the old nursery-maid of the family, one who having brought up all the children, and seen the very last, the lingering and long-petted Master Harry,
sent to school after his brothers, was now living in her deserted nursery to mend stockings, and dress all the blains and bruises she could get near her, and who, consequently, was only too happy in being allowed to go and help nurse dear Miss Louisa. Vague wishes of getting Sarah thither,
had occurred before to Mrs. Musgrove and Henrietta; but without Anne, it would hardly have been resolved on, and found practicable so soon.
They were indebted, the next day, to Charles Hayter for all the minute knowledge of Louisa, which it was so
essential to obtain every twenty-four hours. He made it his business to go to Lyme, and his account was still encouraging. The intervals of sense and consciousness were believed to be stronger. Every report agreed in Captain Wentworth’s appearing fixed in Lyme.
Anne was to leave them on the morrow, an event which they all dreaded. “What should they do without her? They were wretched comforters for one another.” And so much was said in this way, that Anne thought she could not do better than impart among them the general inclination to which she was privy, and persuaded them all to go to Lyme at once. She had little difficulty; it was soon determined that they would go, go to-morrow, fix themselves at the inn, or get into lodgings, as it suited, and there remain till dear Louisa could be moved. They must be taking off some trouble from the good people she was with; they might at least relieve Mrs. Harville from the care of her own children; and in short they were so happy in the decision, that Anne was delighted with what she had done, and felt that she could not spend her last morning at Uppercross better than in assisting their preparations, and sending them off at an early hour, though her being left to the solitary range of the house was the consequence.
She was the last, excepting the little boys at the cottage, she was the very last, the only remaining one of all that had filled and animated both houses, of all that had given Uppercross its cheerful character. A few days had made a change indeed!
If Louisa recovered, it would all be well again. More than former happiness would be restored. There could not be a doubt, to her mind there was none, of what would follow her recovery. A few months hence, and the room now so deserted, occupied but by her silent, pensive self, might
be filled again with all that was happy and gay, all that was glowing and bright in prosperous love, all that was most unlike Anne Elliot!
An hour’s complete leisure for such reflections as these, on a dark November day, a small thick rain almost blotting
out the very few objects ever to be discerned from the windows, was enough to make the sound of Lady Russell’s carriage exceedingly welcome; and yet, though desirous to be gone, she could not quit the mansion-house, or look an adieu to the cottage, with its black, dripping and comfortless
veranda, or even notice through the misty glasses the last humble tenements of the village, without a saddened heart.— Scenes had passed in Uppercross, which made it precious. It stood the record of many sensations of pain, once severe, but now softened; and of some instances of
relenting feeling, some breathings of friendship, and reconciliation, which could never be looked for again, and which
could never cease to be dear. She left it all behind her; all but the recollection that such things had been. Anne had never entered Kellynch since her quitting
Lady Russell’s house in September. It had not been necessary, and the few occasions of its being possible for her to go to the hall she had contrived to evade and escape from. Her first return, was to resume her place in the modern and elegant apartments of the lodge, and to gladden the eyes of
There was some anxiety mixed with Lady Russell’s joy in meetin her. She knew who had been frequenting
Uppercross. But happily, either Anne was improved in plumpness and looks, or Lady Russell fancied her so; and Anne, in receiving her compliments on the occasion, had the amusement of connecting them with the silent admiration of her cousin, and of hoping that she was to be blessed
with a second spring of youth and beauty.
When they came to converse, she was soon sensible of some mental change. The subjects of which her heart had been full on leaving Kellynch, and which she had felt slighted, and been compelled to smother among the Musgroves, were now become but of secondary interest. She had lately lost sight even of her father and sister and Bath. Their concerns had been sunk under those of Uppercross, and when Lady Russell reverted to their former hopes and fears, and spoke her satisfaction in the house in Camden-place, which had been taken, and her regret that Mrs. Clay should still be with them, Anne would have been ashamed to have it known, how much more she was thinking of Lyme, and Louisa Musgrove, and all her acquaintance there; how much more interesting to her was the home and the friendship of the Harvilles and Captain Benwick, than her own father’s house in Camden-place, or her own sister’s intimacy with Mrs. Clay. She was actually forced to exert herself, to meet Lady Russell with anything like the appearance of
equal solicitude, on topics which had by nature the first claim on her.
There was a little awkwardness at first in their discourse on another subject. They must speak of the accident at Lyme. Lady Russell had not been arrived five minutes the day before, when a full account of the whole had burst on her; but still it must be talked of, she must make enquiries, she must regret the imprudence, lament the result, and
Captain Wentworth’s name must be mentioned by both. Anne was conscious of not doing it so well as Lady Russell. She could not speak the name, and look straight forward to Lady Russell’s eye, till she had adopted the expedient of telling her briefly what she thought of the attachment between him and Louisa. When this was told, his name distressed her no longer.
Lady Russell had only to listen composedly, and wish
them happy; but internally her heart revelled in angry pleasure, in pleased contempt, that the man who at twentythree
had seemed to understand somewhat of the value of an Anne Elliot, should, eight years afterwards, be charmed by a Louisa Musgrove.
The first three or four days passed most quietly, with no circumstance to mark them excepting the receipt of a note
or two from Lyme, which found their way to Anne, she could not tell how, and brought a rather improving account of Louisa. At the end of that period, Lady Russell’s politeness could repose no longer, and the fainter self-threatenings of the past, became in a decided tone, “I must call on Mrs. Croft; I really must call upon her soon. Anne, have you courage to go with me, and pay a visit in that house? It will be some trial to us both.”
Anne did not shrink from it; on the contrary, she truly felt as she said, in observing,
“I think you are very likely to suffer the most of the two; your feelings are less reconciled to the change than mine. By remaining in the neighbourhood, I am become inured to it.”
She could have said more on the subject; for she had in fact so high an opinion of the Crofts, and considered
her father so very fortunate in his tenants, felt the parish to be so sure of a good example, and the poor of the best attention
and relief, that however sorry and ashamed for the necessity of the removal, she could not but in conscience feel that they were gone who deserved not to stay, and that Kellynch-hall had passed into better hands than its owners’. These convictions must unquestionably have their own pain, and severe was its kind; but they precluded that pain which Lady Russell would suffer in entering the house again, and returning through the well-known apartments.
In such moments Anne had no power of saying to herself,
“These rooms ought to belong only to us. Oh, how
fallen in their destination! How unworthily occupied! An ancient family to be so driven away! Strangers filling their
place!” No, except when she thought of her mother, and remembered where she had been used to sit and preside, she had no sigh of that description to heave.
Mrs. Croft always met her with a kindness which gave her the pleasure of fancying herself a favourite; and on the
present occasion, receiving her in that house, there was particular attention.
The sad accident at Lyme was soon the prevailing topic; and on comparing their latest accounts of the invalid, it appeared that each lady dated her intelligence from the same
hour of yester morn, that Captain Wentworth had been in Kellynch yesterday — (the first time since the accident) had brought Anne the last note, which she had not been able to trace the exact steps of, had staid a few hours and then returned again to Lyme — and without any present intention
of quitting it any more. — He had enquired after her, she found, particularly; — had expressed his hope of Miss Elliot’s not being the worse for her exertions, and had spoken of those exertions as great. — This was handsome,— and gave her more pleasure than almost anything else could have done.
As to the sad catastrophe itself, it could be canvassed only in one style by a couple of steady, sensible women,
whose judgements had to work on ascertained events; and it was perfectly decided that it had been the consequence
of much thoughtlessness and much imprudence; that its effects were most alarming, and that it was frightful to think,
how long Miss Musgrove’s recovery might yet be doubtful, and how liable she would still remain to suffer from the
concussion hereafter! — The Admiral wound it up summarily by exclaiming,
“Ay, a very bad business indeed. — A new sort of way
this, for a young fellow to be making love, by breaking his mistress’s head! — is not it, Miss Elliot? — This is breaking a
head and giving a plaister, truly!”
Admiral Croft’s manners were not quite of the tone to
suit Lady Russell, but they delighted Anne. His goodness of heart and simplicity of character were irresistible.
“Now, this must be very bad for you,” said he, suddenly rousing from a little reverie, “to be coming and finding us here.— I had not recollected it before, I declare,— but it
must be very bad.— But now, do not stand upon ceremony.— Get up and go over all the rooms in the house if you like it.”
“Another time, Sir, I thank you, not now.”
“Well, whenever it suits you.—You can slip in from the
shrubbery at any time. And there you will find we keep our umbrellas, hanging up by that door. A good place, is not it? But” (checking himself) “you will not think it a good place, for yours were always kept in the butler’s room. Ay, so it always is, I believe. One man’s ways may be as good
as another’s, but we all like our own best. And so you must judge for yourself, whether it would be better for you to go
about the house or not.”
Anne, finding she might decline it, did so, very gratefully.
“We have made very few changes either!” continued the Admiral, after thinking a moment. “Very few. — We told you about the laundry-door, at Uppercross. That has been a very
great improvement. The wonder was, how any family upon earth could bear with the inconvenience of its opening as it did, so long! — You will tell Sir Walter what we have done, and that Mr. Shepherd thinks it the greatest improvement the house ever had. Indeed, I must do ourselves the justice to say, that the few alterations we have made have been all very much for the better. My wife should have the credit of them, however. I have done very little besides sending away some of the large looking-glasses from my dressing-room, which was your father’s. A very good man, and very much the gentleman I am sure — but I should think, Miss Elliot” (looking with serious reflection) “I should think he must be rather a dressy man for his time of life.—Such a number of
looking-glasses! oh Lord! there was no getting away from oneself. So I got Sophy to lend me a hand, and we soon shifted their quarters; and now I am quite snug, with my little shaving glass in one corner, and another great thing that I never go near.”
Anne, amused in spite of herself, was rather distressed for an answer, and the Admiral, fearing he might not have been civil enough, took up the subject again, to say,
“The next time you write to your good father, Miss Elliot, pray give him my compliments and Mrs. Croft’s, and say that we are settled here quite to our liking, and have
no fault at all to find with the place. The breakfast-room chimney smokes a little, I grant you, but it is only when the
wind is due north and blows hard, which may not happen three times a winter. And take it altogether, now that we
have been into most of the houses hereabouts and can judge, there is not one that we like better than this. Pray say so,
with my compliments. He will be glad to hear it.”
Lady Russell and Mrs. Croft were very well pleased
with each other; but the acquaintance which this visit began, was fated not to proceed far at present; for when it
was returned, the Crofts announced themselves to be going away for a few weeks, to visit their connexions in the north
of the county, and probably might not be at home again before Lady Russell would be removing to Bath.
So ended all danger to Anne of meeting Captain Wentworth at Kellynch-hall, or of seeing him in company
with her friend. Everything was safe enough, and she smiled over the many anxious feelings she had wasted on
hough Charles and Mary had remained at Lyme
much longer after Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove’s going, than Anne conceived they could have been at all wanted, they were yet the first of the family to be
at home again, and as soon as possible after their return to Uppercross, they drove over to the lodge.—They had left
Louisa beginning to sit up; but her head, though clear, was exceedingly weak, and her nerves susceptible to the highest
extreme of tenderness; and though she might be pronounced to be altogether doing very well, it was still impossible to say
when she might be able to bear the removal home; and her father and mother, who must return in time to receive their
younger children for the Christmas holidays, had hardly a hope of being allowed to bring her with them.
They had been all in lodgings together. Mrs. Musgrove had got Mrs. Harville’s children away as much as she could, every possible supply from Uppercross had been furnished,
to lighten the inconvenience to the Harvilles, while the Harvilles had been wanting them to come to dinner every day; and in short, it seemed to have been only a struggle on each side as to which should be most disinterested and hospitable.
Mary had had her evils; but upon the whole, as was
evident by her staying so long, she had found more to enjoy than to suffer.—Charles Hayter had been at Lyme oftener than suited her, and when they dined with the Harvilles there had been only a maid-servant to wait, and at first, Mrs. Harville had always given Mrs. Musgrove precedence; but then, she had received so very handsome an apology from her on finding out whose daughter she was, and there had been so much going on every day, there had been so many walks between their lodgings and the Harvilles, and she had got books from the library and changed them so often, that the balance had certainly been much in favour of
Lyme. She had been taken to Charmouth too, and she had bathed, and she had gone to church, and there were a great many more people to look at in the church at Lyme than at Uppercross, — and all this, joined to the sense of being so very useful, had made really an agreeable fortnight. Anne enquired after Captain Benwick. Mary’s face was clouded directly. Charles laughed.
“Oh! Captain Benwick is very well, I believe, but he
is a very odd young man. I do not know what he would be at. We asked him to come home with us for a day or two; Charles undertook to give him some shooting, and he seemed quite delighted, and for my part, I thought it was all settled; when behold! on Tuesday night, he made a very
awkward sort of excuse; “he never shot” and he had “been quite misunderstood,” — and he had promised this and he
had promised that, and the end of it was, I found, that he did not mean to come. I suppose he was afraid of finding
it dull; but upon my word I should have thought we were lively enough at the Cottage for such a heart-broken man as
Charles laughed again and said, “Now Mary, you know very well how it really was. — It was all your doing,”
(turning to Anne.) “He fancied that if he went with us, he should find you close by; he fancied every body to be living
in Uppercross; and when he discovered that Lady Russell lived three miles off, his heart failed him, and he had not
courage to come. That is the fact, upon my honour, Mary knows it is.”
But Mary did not give into it very graciously; whether
from not considering Captain Benwick entitled by birth and situation to be in love with an Elliot, or from not wanting
to believe Anne a greater attraction to Uppercross than herself, must be left to be guessed. Anne’s good-will, however,
was not to be lessened by what she heard. She boldly
acknowledged herself flattered, and continued her enquiries.
“Oh! he talks of you,” cried Charles, “in such terms,”—
Mary interrupted him. “I declare, Charles, I never heard
him mention Anne twice all the time I was there. I declare,
Anne, he never talks of you at all.”
“No,” admitted Charles, “I do not know that he ever
does, in a general way — but however, it is a very clear thing
that he admires you exceedingly. — His head is full of some
books that he is reading upon your recommendation, and he wants to talk to you about them; he has found out something
or other in one of them which he thinks-Oh! I cannot
pretend to remember it, but it was something very fine — I overheard him telling Henrietta all about it — and then
“Miss Elliot” was spoken of in the highest terms! — Now
Mary, I declare it was so, I heard it myself, and you were in
the other room. — ”Elegance, sweetness, beauty,” Oh! there
was no end of Miss Elliot’s charms.”
“And I am sure,” cried Mary, warmly, “it was a very little
to his credit, if he did. Miss Harville only died last June.
Such a heart is very little worth having; is it, Lady Russell?
I am sure you will agree with me.”
“I must see Captain Benwick before I decide,” said Lady
“And that you are very likely to do very soon, I can tell
you, ma’am,” said Charles. “Though he had not nerves for
coming away with us and setting off again afterwards to pay a formal visit here, he will make his way over to Kellynch
one day by himself, you may depend on it. I told him the distance and the road, and I told him of the church’s being
so very well worth seeing, for as he has a taste for those sort
of things, I thought that would be a good excuse, and he
listened with all his understanding and soul; and I am sure
from his manner that you will have him calling here soon.
So, I give you notice, Lady Russell.”
“Any acquaintance of Anne’s will always be welcome to
me,” was Lady Russell’s kind answer.
“Oh! as to being Anne’s acquaintance,” said Mary, “I
think he is rather my acquaintance, for I have been seeing him every day this last fortnight.”
“Well, as your joint acquaintance, then, I shall be very happy to see Captain Benwick.”
`You will not find anything very agreeable in him, I assure
you, ma’am. He is one of the dullest young men that ever lived. He has walked with me, sometimes, from one
end of the sands to the other, without saying a word. He
is not at all a well-bred young man. I am sure you will not
“There we differ, Mary,” said Anne. “I think Lady Russell
would like him. I think she would be so much pleased with
his mind, that she would very soon see no deficiency in his
“So do I, Anne,” said Charles. “I am sure Lady Russell
would like him. He is just Lady Russell’s sort. Give him a
book, and he will read all day long.”
“Yes, that he will!” exclaimed Mary, tauntingly. “He
will sit poring over his book, and not know when a person
speaks to him, or when one drop’s one’s scissors, or anything
that happens. Do you think Lady Russell would like
Lady Russell could not help laughing. “Upon my word,”
said she, “I should not have supposed that my opinion of
any one could have admitted of such difference of conjecture,
steady and matter of fact as I may call myself. I have
really a curiosity to see the person who can give occasion to
such directly opposite notions. I wish he may be induced to
call here. And when he does, Mary, you may depend upon
hearing my opinion; but I am determined not to judge him
“You will not like him, I will answer for it.”
Lady Russell began talking of something else. Mary
spoke with animation of their meeting with, or rather missing,
Mr. Elliot so extraordinarily.
“He is a man,” said Lady Russell, “whom I have no wish
to see. His declining to be on cordial terms with the head of
his family, has left a very strong impression in his disfavour
This decision checked Mary’s eagerness, and stopped
her short in the midst of the Elliot countenance.
With regard to Captain Wentworth, though Anne hazarded
no enquiries, there was voluntary communication
sufficient. His spirits had been greatly recovering lately, as
might be expected. As Louisa improved, he had improved;
and he was now quite a different creature from what he had
been the first week. He had not seen Louisa; and was so
fearful of any ill consequence to her from an interview,
that he did not press for it at all; and, on the contrary,
seemed to have a plan of going away for a week or ten days,
till her head were stronger. He had talked of going down
to Plymouth for a week, and wanted to persuade Captain
Benwick to go with him; but, as Charles maintained to the
last, Captain Benwick seemed much more disposed to ride
over to Kellynch.
There can be no doubt that Lady Russell and Anne
were both occasionally thinking of Captain Benwick, from
this time. Lady Russell could not hear the door-bell without
feeling that it might be his herald; nor could Anne return
from any stroll of solitary indulgence in her father’s
grounds, or any visit of charity in the village, without
whether she might see him or hear of him. Captain
Benwick came not, however. He was either less disposed for
it than Charles had imagined, or he was too shy; and after
giving him a week’s indulgence, Lady Russell determined
him to be unworthy of the interest which he had been beginning
The Musgroves came back to receive their happy boys
and girls from school, bringing with them Mrs. Harville’s
little children, to improve the noise of Uppercross, and lessen
that of Lyme. Henrietta remained with Louisa; but all
the rest of the family were again in their usual quarters.
Lady Russell and Anne paid their compliments to them
once, when Anne could not but feel that Uppercross was
already quite alive again. Though neither Henrietta, nor
Louisa, nor Charles Hayter, nor Captain Wentworth were
there, the room presented as strong a contrast as could be
wished, to the last state she had seen it in.
Immediately surrounding Mrs. Musgrove were the little
Harvilles, whom she was sedulously guarding from the
tyranny of the two children from the Cottage, expressly arrived
to amuse them. On one side was a table, occupied by
some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on
the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight
of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding
high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas
fire, which seemed determined to be heard, in spite of all
the noise of the others. Charles and Mary also came in, of
course, during their visit; and Mr. Musgrove made a point
of paying his respects to Lady Russell, and sat down close to her for ten minutes, talking with a very raised voice, but,
from the clamour of the children on his knees, generally in
vain. It was a fine family-piece.
Anne, judging from her own temperament, would have
deemed such a domestic hurricane a bad restorative of the
nerves, which Louisa’s illness must have so greatly shaken; but Mrs. Musgrove, who got Anne near her on purpose to
thank her most cordially, again and again, for all her
attentions to them, concluded a short recapitulation of what
she had suffered herself, by observing, with a happy glance round the room, that after all she had gone through, nothing
was so likely to do her good as a little quiet cheerfulness
Louisa was now recovering apace. Her mother could
even think of her being able to join their party at home,
before her brothers and sisters went to school again. The Harvilles had promised to come with her and stay at
Uppercross, whenever she returned. Captain Wentworth was gone, for the present, to see his brother in Shropshire.
“I hope I shall remember, in future,” said Lady Russell,
as soon as they were reseated in the carriage, “not to call at
Uppercross in the Christmas holidays.”
Every body has their taste in noises as well as in other
matters; and sounds are quite innoxious, or most distressing,
by their sort rather than their quantity. When Lady Russell, not long afterwards, was entering Bath on a wet afternoon, and driving through the long course of streets from the Old Bridge to Camden-place, amidst the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling
of newsmen, muffin-men and milkmen, and the ceaseless clink of pattens, she made no complaint. No, these were
noises which belonged to the winter pleasures; her spirits rose under their influence; and, like Mrs. Musgrove, she
was feeling, though not saying, that, after being long in the country, nothing could be so good for her as a little quiet
Anne did not share these feelings. She persisted in a
very determined, though very silent disinclination for Bath;
caught the first dim view of the extensive buildings, smoking in rain, without any wish of seeing them better; felt their
progress through the streets to be, however disagreeable, yet too rapid; for who would be glad to see her when she arrived?
And looked back, with fond regret, to the bustles of Uppercross and the seclusion of Kellynch.
Elizabeth’s last letter had communicated a piece of news of some interest. Mr. Elliot was in Bath. He had called
in Camden-place; had called a second time, a third; had
been pointedly attentive: if Elizabeth and her father did not
deceive themselves, had been taking much pains to seek the
acquaintance, and proclaim the value of the connection, as
he had formerly taken pains to shew neglect. This was very
wonderful, if it were true; and Lady Russell was in a state
of very agreeable curiosity and perplexity about Mr. Elliot,
already recanting the sentiment she had so lately expressed
to Mary, of his being “a man whom she had no wish to see.”
She had a great wish to see him. If he really sought to
reconcile himself like a dutiful branch, he must be forgiven for having dismembered himself from the paternal tree.
Anne was not animated to an equal pitch by the circumstance; but she felt that she would rather see Mr. Elliot
again than not, which was more than she could say for many other persons in Bath.
She was put down in Camden-place; and Lady Russell
then drove to her own lodgings, in Rivers-street.
had taken a very good house in Camdenplace, a lofty, dignified situation, such as becomes a man of consequence; and both he and Elizabeth
were settled there, much to their satisfaction. Anne entered it with a sinking heart, anticipating an imprisonment of many months, and anxiously saying to
herself, “Oh! when shall I leave you again?” A degree of unexpected cordiality, however, in the welcome she received, did her good. Her father and sister were glad to see her, for the sake of shewing her the house and furniture, and met her with kindness. Her making a fourth, when they sat
down to dinner, was noticed as an advantage.
Mrs. Clay was very pleasant, and very smiling; but her courtesies and smiles were more a matter of course. Anne had always felt that she would pretend what was proper on her arrival; but the complaisance of the others was unlooked for. They were evidently in excellent spirits, and she was soon to listen to the causes. They had no inclination to listen to her. After laying out for some compliments of being deeply regretted in their old neighbourhood, which Anne could not pay, they had only a few faint enquiries to make, before the talk must be all their own. Uppercross excited no interest, Kellynch very little, it was all Bath.
They had the pleasure of assuring her that Bath more than answered their expectations in every respect. Their house was undoubtedly the best in Camden-place; their drawing-rooms had many decided advantages over all the others which they had either seen or heard of; and the superiority was not less in the style of the fitting-up, or the taste of the furniture. Their acquaintance was exceedingly sought after. Everybody was wanting to visit them. They had drawn back from many introductions, and still were perpetually having cards left by people of whom they knew nothing.
Here were funds of enjoyment! Could Anne wonder that her father and sister were happy? She might not wonder, but she must sigh that her father should feel no degradation in his change; should see nothing to regret in the duties and dignity of the resident land-holder; should find so much to be vain of in the littlenesses of a town; and she must sigh, and smile, and wonder too, as Elizabeth threw
open the folding-doors, and walked with exultation from one drawing-room to the other, boasting of their space, at the possibility of that woman, who had been mistress of Kellynch Hall, finding extent to be proud of between two walls, perhaps thirty feet asunder.
But this was not all which they had to make them happy. They had Mr. Elliot, too. Anne had a great deal to
hear of Mr. Elliot. He was not only pardoned, they were delighted with him. He had been in Bath about a fortnight; (he had passed through Bath in November, in his way to London, when the intelligence of Sir Walter’s being settled there had of course reached him, though only twenty-four
hours in the place, but he had not been able to avail himself of it): but he had now been a fortnight in Bath, and his first object, on arriving, had been to leave his card in Camdenplace, following it up by such assiduous endeavours to meet, and, when they did meet, by such great openness of conduct,
such readiness to apologize for the past, such solicitude to be received as a relation again, that their former good understanding
was completely re-established.
They had not a fault to find in him. He had explained away all the appearance of neglect on his own side. It had originated in misapprehension entirely. He had never had an idea of throwing himself off; he had feared that he was
thrown off, but knew not why; and delicacy had kept him silent. Upon the hint of having spoken disrespectfully or carelessly of the family, and the family honours, he was quite indignant. He, who had ever boasted of being an Elliot, and whose feelings, as to connection, were only too
strict to suit the unfeudal tone of the present day! He was astonished, indeed! But his character and general conduct must refute it. He could refer Sir Walter to all who knew him; and certainly, the pains he had been taking on this, the first opportunity of reconciliation, to be restored to the
footing of a relation and heir-presumptive, was a strong proof of his opinions on the subject.
The circumstances of his marriage too were found to admit of much extenuation. This was an article not to be entered on by himself; but a very intimate friend of his, a
Colonel Wallis, a highly respectable man, perfectly the gentleman, (and not an ill-looking man, Sir Walter added) who was living in very good style in Marlborough Buildings, and had, at his own particular request, been admitted to their acquaintance through Mr. Elliot, had mentioned one
or two things relative to the marriage, which made a material difference in the discredit of it.
Colonel Wallis had known Mr. Elliot long, had been well acquainted also with his wife, had perfectly understood the whole story. She was certainly not a woman of
family, but well educated, accomplished, rich, and excessively in love with his friend. There had been the charm. She had sought him. Without that attraction, not all her money would have tempted Elliot, and Sir Walter was, moreover, assured of her having been a very fine woman. Here was a great deal to soften the business. A very fine woman, with a large fortune, in love with him! Sir Walter seemed to admit it as complete apology, and though Elizabeth could not see
the circumstance in quite so favourable a light, she allowed it be a great extenuation.
Mr. Elliot had called repeatedly, had dined with them once, evidently delighted by the distinction of being asked, for they gave no dinners in general; delighted, in short, by every proof of cousinly notice, and placing his whole happiness in being on intimate terms in Camden-place.
Anne listened, but without quite understanding it. Allowances, large allowances, she knew, must be made for the ideas of those who spoke. She heard it all under embellishment.
All that sounded extravagant or irrational in the progress of the reconciliation might have no origin but in the language of the relators. Still, however, she had the sensation of there being something more than immediately appeared, in Mr. Elliot’s wishing, after an interval of so
many years, to be well received by them. In a worldly view, he had nothing to gain by being on terms with Sir Walter, nothing to risk by a state of variance. In all probability he was already the richer of the two, and the Kellynch estate would as surely be his hereafter as the title. A sensible man!
and he had looked like a very sensible man, why should it be an object to him? She could only offer one solution; it was, perhaps, for Elizabeth’s sake. There might really have been a liking formerly, though convenience and accident had drawn him a different way, and now that he could afford
to please himself, he might mean to pay his addresses to her. Elizabeth was certainly very handsome, with well-bred, elegant manners, and her character might never have been penetrated by Mr. Elliot, knowing her but in public, and when very young himself. How her temper and understanding
might bear the investigation of his present keener time of life was another concern, and rather a fearful one. Most earnestly did she wish that he might not be too nice, or too observant, if Elizabeth were his object; and that Elizabeth was disposed to believe herself so, and that her friend Mrs. Clay was encouraging the idea, seemed apparent by a glance or two between them, while Mr. Elliot’s frequent visits were talked of.
Anne mentioned the glimpses she had had of him at Lyme, but without being much attended to. “Oh! yes, perhaps,
it had been Mr. Elliot. They did not know. It might be him, perhaps.” They could not listen to her description of him. They were describing him themselves; Sir Walter especially. He did justice to his very gentlemanlike appearance, his air of elegance and fashion, his good shaped face, his
sensible eye, but, at the same time, “must lament his being very much under-hung, a defect which time seemed to have increased; nor could he pretend to say that ten years had not altered almost every feature for the worse. Mr. Elliot appeared to think that he (Sir Walter) was looking exactly as he had done when they last parted;” but Sir Walter had “ not been able to return the compliment entirely, which had embarrassed him. He did not mean to complain, however.
Mr. Elliot was better to look at than most men, and he had no objection to being seen with him any where.”
Mr. Elliot, and his friends in Marlborough Buildings, were talked of the whole evening. “Colonel Wallis had been
so impatient to be introduced to them! and Mr. Elliot so anxious that he should!” And there was a Mrs. Wallis, at present known only to them by description, as she was in daily expectation of her confinement; but Mr. Elliot spoke of her as “a most charming woman, quite worthy of being known in Camden-place,” and as soon as she recovered, they were to be acquainted. Sir Walter thought much of Mrs. Wallis; she was said to be an excessively pretty woman,
beautiful. “He longed to see her. He hoped she might make some amends for the many very plain faces he was continually
passing in the streets. The worst of Bath was, the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty,
or five and thirty frights; and once, as he had stood in a shop on Bond-street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among them. It had been a frosty morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which hardly one woman in a thousand could stand the test of. But still, there certainly were a dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for the men! they were infinitely worse. Such scare-crows as the streets were
full of! It was evident how little the women were used to the sight of any thing tolerable, by the effect which a man of decent appearance produced. He had never walked any where arm in arm with Colonel Wallis, (who was a fine military figure, though sandy-haired) without observing that every
woman’s eye was upon him; every woman’s eye was sure to be upon Colonel Wallis.” Modest Sir Walter! He was not allowed to escape, however. His daughter and Mrs. Clay united in hinting that Colonel Wallis’s companion might have as good a figure as Colonel Wallis, and certainly was
“How is Mary looking?” said Sir Walter, in the height of his good humour. “The last time I saw her, she had a red nose, but I hope that may not happen every day.”
“Oh! no, that must have been quite accidental. In general
she has been in very good health, and very good looks since Michaelmas.”
“If I thought it would not tempt her to go out in sharp
winds, and grow coarse, I would send her a new hat and
Anne was considering whether she should venture
to suggest that a gown, or a cap, would not be liable to
any such misuse, when a knock at the door suspended
everything. “A knock at the door! and so late! It was ten
o’clock. Could it be Mr. Elliot? They knew he was to dine
in Lansdown Crescent. It was possible that he might stop in
his way home, to ask them how they did. They could think
of no one else. Mrs. Clay decidedly thought it Mr. Elliot’s
knock.” Mrs. Clay was right. With all the state which a
butler and foot-boy could give, Mr. Elliot was ushered into
It was the same, the very same man, with no difference
but of dress. Anne drew a little back, while the others
received his compliments, and her sister his apologies for
calling at so unusual an hour, but “he could not be so near
without wishing to know that neither she nor her friend had
taken cold the day before, &c. &c.” which was all as politely
done, and as politely taken as possible, but her part must
then. Sir Walter talked of his youngest daughter; “Mr.
Elliot must give him leave to present him to his youngest
daughter”— (there was no occasion for remembering Mary)
and Anne, smiling and blushing, very becomingly shewed
to Mr. Elliot the pretty features which he had by no means
forgotten, and instantly saw, with amusement at his little
start of surprise, that he had not been at all aware of who
she was. He looked completely astonished, but not more
astonished than pleased; his eyes brightened, and with the
most perfect alacrity he welcomed the relationship, alluded
to the past, and entreated to be received as an acquaintance
already. He was quite as good-looking as he had appeared
at Lyme, his countenance improved by speaking, and his
manners were so exactly what they ought to be, so polished,
so easy, so particularly agreeable, that she could compare
them in excellence to only one person’s manners. They were
not the same, but they were, perhaps, equally good.
He sat down with them, and improved their conversation
very much. There could be no doubt of his being
a sensible man. Ten minutes were enough to certify that.
His tone, his expressions, his choice of subject, his knowing
where to stop,— it was all the operation of a sensible,
discerning mind. As soon as he could, he began to talk to
her of Lyme, wanting to compare opinions respecting the
place, but especially wanting to speak of the circumstance
of their happening to be guests in the same inn at the same
time, to give his own route, understand something of hers,
and regret that he should have lost such an opportunity of
paying his respects to her. She gave him a short account of
her party, and business at Lyme. His regret increased as he
listened. He had spent his whole solitary evening in the
room adjoining theirs; had heard voices — mirth continually;
thought they must be a most delightful set of people —
longed to be with them; but certainly without the smallest
suspicion of his possessing the shadow of a right to introduce
himself. If he had but asked who the party were! The
name of Musgrove would have told him enough. “Well, it
would serve to cure him of an absurd practice of never asking
a question at an inn, which he had adopted, when quite
a young man, on the principal of its being very ungenteel
to be curious.
“The notions of a young man of one or two and twenty,”
said he, “as to what is necessary in manners to make him
quite the thing, are more absurd, I believe, than those of
any other set of beings in the world. The folly of the means
they often employ is only to be equalled by the folly of what
they have in view.”
But he must not be addressing his reflections to Anne
alone; he knew it; he was soon diffused again among the
others, and it was only at intervals that he could return to
Lyme.His enquiries, however, produced at length an account
of the scene she had been engaged in there, soon after his
leaving the place. Having alluded to “an accident,” he
must hear the whole. When he questioned, Sir Walter and
Elizabeth began to question also; but the difference in their
manner of doing it could not be unfelt. She could only compare
Mr. Elliot to Lady Russell, in the wish of really comprehending
what had passed, and in the degree of concern
for what she must have suffered in witnessing it. He staid an hour with them. The elegant little clock on
the mantel-piece had struck “eleven with its silver sounds,”
and the watchman was beginning to be heard at a distance
telling the same tale, before Mr. Elliot or any of them
seemed to feel that he had been there long.
Anne could not have supposed it possible that her first
evening in Camden-place could have passed so well!
(перевод с англ.)